things to be relieved about

  • The smiley face that came in the text reassuring me, “No worries about the bumper” and thanking me for leaving a note in the first place.
  • That SIGH-der of relief and those 10 days of anxiety that preceded. Dear God we r not ready.
  • How we can stay up late talking about insecurities and anxieties and comfort each other like two wee babes in the middle of a dark night. Waking up together to a faithful new morning again and again.

Here, nature mingles with man.


more thoughts about friendship


“yeah, you go deep all quick and stuff, but it’s not really the same as getting to know someone over time and having the opportunity for them to disappoint you.”

maybe 2-3 years is the sweet time, the honeymoon phase, of a friendship. [sidenote: did you know that “honeymoon” in Spanish is, quite literally, “luna de miel”? being a nonnative (read: noob) speaker of a language has these perks, of your ears perking up at the sounds and literal meanings of words — of your mind immediately envisioning a full, yellow moon of comb, dripping with honey at the sound of “luna de miel” that “honeymoon” simply does not conjure up because you’ve become desensitized to the cuteness of that word, in its naked self, stripped of all its contextual trappings. if I were talented at illustrating, at this moment, I would try to draw a naked-in-a-cute-way WORD. someone do this for me.]

and after this period, chara said, you start to come to a period of conflict. 

-because you start getting to know a person better, in all their good sides and their bad ones?- I proffered.

well yes, that, but what I wanted to say was that after this period, you come to a place where you have certain expectations of a friendship of [however many] years and so does that other person. and more often than not, these expectations will not match up perfectly. at least that’s what I can deduce the reason to be; that’s the overarching umbrella reason for conflict in my long-term friendships: mismatched expectations. do you know about the [example of just this thing] of second year?

-this…makes sense. buhcause, [offers example of just this thing] that happened my first year!

-and, and, and I wonder if all relationships are like this. but other kinds of relationships have more rules decided by society on how they “should” sorta be. take romantic relationships, for example. society, more or less, dictates certain expectations for a romantic relationship. like, an average healthy, happy couple should probably talk to each other [some range of] times per week. and you should probably see each other [some range of] times per week, or per month, or whatever. and for anniversaries, you should probably do [whatever kind of thing] to celebrate. you know? like, there are certain EXPECTATIONS for a romantic relationship, predetermined, that are just not so for friendships. expectations for friendships can be wildly varying, and that’s where the trouble comes in, because you’re not really sure where that person could be coming from, in terms of what they are expecting from this friendship with you. people love and feel loved in different ways. people are and inspire different kinds of thoughts and feelings that makes this whole thing of RELATINGships really very complicated. it’s like a beautiful thing, too, though, that it’s this freeform, freewilly kind of substance, malleable and putty-like in your collective four hands (or six or eight or seven).

yeah! exactly. basically, I think it’s inevitable that you’re going to disappoint and be disappointed by these mismatched expectations. 

-but see? I haven’t really. it’s only been the peachy, moon-of-honey years of friendships (mmm peach + honey) that I’ve lived. I feel sort of stunted in this. but also…glad that I get to learn this in theory before mucking it completely up in practice. I feel much better equipped for this.

what you have to do is decide that a relationship with that person is worth pushing through that disappointment and make it work. there are gonna be sad moments; there are different kinds of friends for different portions of you and portions of your life. and that’s okay. 

-friendship is hard!! what the heck.


This is the post in which I belatedly do a photodump of the photogenic and otherwise-memorable moments of the year that was 2015 and unabashedly and sentimentally caption them to my heart’s content. Saying my goodbyes and thank yous and reminding myself to live another year, full, like this.

January 2: Binky inspires jealousy in little old working-from-home me, ironically sprawled out in front of my work laptop, as if to say, “Try and disturb my peace, mahaha.” Weirdly just like our good old days in high school.
January 9: It’s a potluck! of all kinds of frozen goodies a la Trader Joe’s and a frittata baked in a borrowed cast iron. #adulting, first full year edition.
January 24: WOMEN’S RETREAT AS ALUMS. Year 1.
January 26: Shin told us he would take us out for a fancy dinner but forgot his wallet, so thankfully there was no need for that post-dinner check-stealing dance around the table. Whew.
January 30: Living it up @JPA, fave apartment. So girly but we really don’t care.
January 31: We went skiing and cidery-ing. Where they have snow and APPLs.
January 31: and the tiniest little mousey homes hidden in the floor boards.
February 10: Work building neighbors; we visit each other for cakes and walks and tours of snowflakey office cubes.
February 13: “See, this was some significant moment that I wanted to remember; I remember thinking that I would take this picture to remember that thing I wanted to remember. But all I can remember now is that I wanted to remember that thing I just can’t remember anymore.” Maybe it was something related to love, cause this was suspiciously close to Valentine’s day, when I was wondering about love and all.
February 15: Afternoons upon afternoons of sudoku-ing like old people, on the couch, listening to the sounds of JPA as if we were New Yorkers.
February 17: A lunch break well used. Snowedin at Snowden for the second big snowfall of the yurr.
February 18: Fancy dessert in celebration of a belated Valentine’s (erm actually, more like a continuation of Valentine’s celebratin’). Prolly the most picturesque concoction M ever baked for me.
February 21: Sleepover essentials = Bluebell, Doritos, sleeping bags packing tiny college apartment rooms full of girltalk and “what’s the semester been like for you so far” catch-ups. Actually, no girltalk cause realtalk always trumps.
February 21: Confession: I only ever go to Bodo’s when people visit. No disrespect; maybe it’s just a case of the not-appreciating-what’s-there kinda thing.
February 25: “TEA TIME WITH MADISON!!” It’s not as fancy as you think! Barely enough mugs for all the visitors, but more than enough catch-up stories and warm drink to go around, round, a round.
February 26: Just another snow day, just another sucker for bleak snowy shots.
March 3: Woah. Deep questions on one tutor-date afternoon.
March 4: An evening of feeling full. Of challah bread and refreshing conversation.
March 5: We got snowed in at N. Baker Street and trekked to go shopping for frivolous groceries. It was a lot more fun than Mark anticipated it would be. heheh.
March 5: I like that he lets me propose — and carry out — ideas fueled by enthusiasm and sugar highs. But also keeps me safe by making us take the sidewalk.
March 5: And then walks me home through the snow, across the train tracks, starry-eyed.
March 8: Gelati for a birthday girl! Cutest small group ever. This first full year out of college was also made so special by these ladies (and gents, not pictured) of my small group. We talked, inevitably, about boys and Jesus. And how it all works out together. Under the faithful guidance of the Roses, ragin’ and roarin’.
March 16: (Wut the. I know that boy in green. HAha. And) look how cute those commas are up there on the Paramount sign. I love Charlottesville.
March 16: MDIOUSNUIDUR RSS 5&72. Just another walk down the downtown moll.
March 18: Belated celebration of one of our birthdays. Pictured here is the most incredible pork chop, of my life, droolz.
March 20: Friendcation, 1st edition! The year we conquered Chicago in our little Virginian shoes aaaaaaand fell in love.
March 20: Chicago deep dish.
March 21: Just one of our 2204802382 timer photos in front of the Bean, cause, did I mention Chicago?
March 22: He thinks he is pretty.
March 22: This was also the hallmark year of “What (the HECK) is love?”
March 22: I dunno, but I’m sure one of its forms is surprise birthday cakes secretly lit in hotel hallways and eaten like an ambush, with a lotta beer and comfortable conversation with friendcation friends forever.
March 23: Chicago loved us back and wanted us to stay longer, on that friendcation. Hehe.

oh yah, for more Chicago, go here.

March 30: Passover with the Portico family
April 12: But for real, I think everyone else had the same idea, cause I’m pretty sure there were more people than blossoms. Almost.
April 12: Cherry blossom selfies.
April 12: …these are the real cherry blossom selfies!
April 17: Just-cause drives out to the countryside.
April 17: Ewww get your head out of there.
April 26: A year, also, of SLEEPOVERS! In my APARTMENT. Where I LIVED, by MYSELF! Except when there were SLEEPOVERS! 8) 8) 8) best EVER.
April 26: Some of my favorite things about sleepovers are the glasses and the filling up of floor spaces by cushy material.
April 26: The Quiet Coyote, by GCF Class of 2013.
April 27: Favorite date activity #458982734: Frolic up and down grocery store aisles, preferably eating samples and taking silly, ironic pictures cause he doesn’t even like wine.
May 2: Elena meets Citizen Burger. Proceeds to document, like a true friend of mine. Spends the next hour not eating burger but philosophizing about Life and Stuff. Like a true friend of mine.
May 6: My seester the heepster of RVA. Fooooorgive my redundancy.
May 9: This was a stroll down the Downtown Moll that suddenly broke into dance. With ribbons and calf tassels.
May 9: Chaps. This was the time of the year when I actually got tired of eating ice cream for eating it so often. What is THAT first-world problem all about.
May 16! UVA Class of 2015 graduates. Meesh watches, proud and sunglassesed. Hooray!
May 22: A barbershop dawg, caught in action. RVA.
May 23: Oh yeah, moving back to my parents’ house, long story. Realized anew the beauty of Mama Lee’s cooking and caring.
May 23: Favorite date activity #23209480573: Go to the Meadow.
May 23: and ruin its natural beauty.
June 5: Josh Garrels, best concert, musical-experience-wise, ever. Also the night when I wanted to give up on Mark but didn’t, and then had some sort of revelation afterwards. I think there’s a secret blog post out there about this night.
June 6: Hi, DC.
June 11: Hi, Charlottesville.
July 1: Favorite date activity #893902394. Follow Mark to the gym. Sit on the giant bouncy ball, watching TV. Intermittently make Mark feel awkward by commenting on his muscles and laughing at his heavy breathing. Take sneaky pictures. hee hoo.
July 4: Celebrated our great nation’s independence with barbecue and fireworks with these summer hoodlums. Price: a chair smashed to smithereens by a muscular butt, which is actually just priceless.
July 8: What a beautiful little Little. Catching me up on life over the summer.
July 11: Friendcation, camping edition. But there was wifi so some of us didn’t think it counted. But we also had a campfire and marshmallows! So…yes?! hehe
July 14: Watermelon milkshakes are a thing and they are surprisingly pleasant!
July 15: Meta boba! Yay for short-hair friends and roadtrip friends and Charlottesville-meets-Richmond friends and honestly, just friends who’ve been in your life for longer than a second, cause childhood was full of moving about. Thankful for this one who’s seen me through two kinds of schools.
July 18: Sorry if this is rude but I love old people.
July 22: I think this was the day when I broke the news that I would be moving and you were like, “Don’t worry.”
August 1: Canoeing down the James, free as a bird. That doesn’t fly. And is bad at rowing canoes. Good thing canoeing is a team sport. “YOU STEER I’LL PUSH!” “…WHAT?!”
August 9: DChang visits for some barbecue and coffee over chess. What a classy guy.
August 10: Happy-Anniversary olives.
August 15: Crazy laffs for an alum visit to Cville. Welcome back!
August 15: These people keep me honest and rooted. And always laughing. And peeing. Sometimes the two are related.
August 17: “One lady who loves all the students.” “Noah and my long shower.” Why is no one else falling out of their chair laughing right now??
August 18: Best small group ever; we may have been named “Wizard of Oz Crew” because we’re in search of courage and wisdom and a heart or something. ❤
August 20: Words from Bone’s wallet. Preach.
August 21: We drove to Philly! Okay more accurately: He drove to Philly and she took pictures of it all!
August 21: Spruce Street Harbor Park.
August 21: Markling Starry-Eyed and Tall.
August 21: “So…can you explain to me why Japan?”
August 22: Philly explorations.
August 22: Philly boba.
August 22: Philly conquering.
August 22: Philly people!
August 22: Philly phull circles.
August 22: Philly night-bussing.
August 23: Philly selphies.

more of the same, here.

August 26: Puzzles, construction paper, puppy stickers. Clearly this is an MPPS offsite.
August 29: “Something-something super deep and clear; blowing-my-mind blahblahs.” Just a day in the life of a Meesh.
September 2: Sandwiches and burgers with Princess Priscilla, all hail.
September 4: Four pairs of feet at this gallery full of silent music.
September 5: Ah! 😀 (Why does this picture make me crave chocolate chip cookies?)
September 6: Visiting DChang at his not-so-humble abode, Norfolk, VA; he’s not only a domestic goddess but also single. Eh hem calling all my single lady friends.
September 6: DChang, he made this. It’s like Bon Chon, in Norfolk, uh homemade. WHAT.
September 6: ❤
September 6: DChang blows us away with his Korean-lady cooking skills once again. Shikhye edition.
September 6: DChang and his fancy dranks. Mint juleps are not what I imagined at all. Blec.
September 6: DChang, showing us his life as king of Norfolk evening skyline. Woohoooooooo rooftop chillin’.

and the full weekend review.

September 9: All like, “Wait, wait, wait can you say that again I wanna write that down.” Hehehe.
September 12: What a treat to see this yet another “long-term” friend and seester 🙂
September 12: Hallo, welcome to that barbecue place in Belmont with that slop bucket thing everyone is always talking about. Pull up a chair and relax here with our cheeps.
October 2: I wanna have a tiny little [wedding] party here and fill up the Christmas-lit reception room to the brim with good cheese and beer and cake and people loving being there. Celebrating love and other stuff like that. [The Local, Belmont]
October 6: Work desk, overrun with smolness.
October 9: More mind-blowing mconversations with Meesh and Mads. Mloveyou.
October 16: Upper-echelon kind of evening, at the Paramount. Silent-yelling from the balconies, saying we’ve made it now. Wahaha.
October 17: Alums visit! For the fall weather and apple picking and action pictures out the wazoo.
October 17: It’s tea time with Priscilla! Tea bowls and pear pie, all provided.
October 17: Stargazing at Skyline.
October 17: Selfies at Skyline.
October 17: I really, really, really, love, you.
October 23: Played hooky cause, the weather. Ah.
October 25: Photo cred to GloRoh! The prof pic that last all fall long and then some.
October 24: We only hiked the NOT-OLD RAG for only like SIXTY miles, nbd.
October 24: We ate pb&js and had fun anyways. We I love pb&js.
October 31: Incredible feeling #290234: Leaving a place better than you found it. Mm.
October 31: Incredible feeling #290235! Treating your parents to a Chinese buffet lunch cause their love was so tangible, the day of moving-out. I need to treat them more.
November 4: Last Rager at the Roses’. Breaking open the praise jar and finding ponies and declarations of love, for people and for Jesus. Thank you for being our home away from home.
November 5: Gbye lunch, picnic style! Thank you for being the best first real-world job teammates ever. I learned a lot. Way more than can be captured in any QC checklist.
November 9: “(In what specific ways) Do you rebel against the system?” Follow-up conversation still to come. Thank you for the thought-provoking conversation and milkshake.
November 9: Gbye dinner! Documenting how we can have #adulting dinner parties and feed people without worries, and marveling at the hospitality.
November 9: ❤ <4 <5… Thank you for being a group that grew together.
November 10: Quit muh job, left for the Midwest, found a hostel in the crack between two buildings. No fear.
November 10: Midwest views, the Great Arch edition.
November 10: Midwest friends, watching Midwest runners going, going, going.
November 10: Midwest men enjoying Midwest desserts.
November 12: Midwest barbecue that captured Mark’s heart so; he said he’d move himself for this. Wowza.
November 12: Midwest hippitude! What a delish and heartwarming dinner that was.
November 12: Midwest plays hard to get. (She loves me.)
November 13: Midwest. Art. Orange. Madison.
November 13: Midwest Mark and Makeshift Moodlighting.
November 13: Look, it’s a giant badminton thingy!
November 14: Traveling west. Unintentional matching, eww.
November 14: Denverrrrrrrrrrrrr, here we come.
November 14: Midwest dog and his seeing-eye person.
November 14: After an Amtrak scheduling freakout and a sobering reminder that no matter what happens, we don’t really have it that bad. Midwest moon smizes at us as we travel west, west, west.
November 15: Got to meet Isaac and his Denver crew. Sweet people! Sweet ice cream.
November 15: Favorite road-trip thing to do #1092384: Sit in the back seat like a child and pretend to sleep while the adults talk in the front about the traffic or the weather or both.
November 15: Just a coupla Virginians and a Coloradan. Awed by Red Rock!
November 15: :D!
November 15: Rock climbing; we’re free spirits.
November 15: Mountains and expensive posters. And Vail shoutouts.
November 15: Memorable Midwest Moment #98277489: Finding the best-ever-curated Recommended Shelves at this Boulder, CO bookstore. Falling in love with the entire city.
November 15: Evening firepit that was not as classy/organized as the picture may make it seem. There was incessant smoke and lying on the floor, huddling for warmth before the it got going.
November 16: Midwest Mark and Madison, touristy checkpoint, check! Denver, CO.
November 16: HAHA.
November 16: HEHEH.
November 16: Apparently Mark is the master of Connect Four; learning something new every new day.
November 17: Denver didn’t want us to leave, either! 🙂

more here.

November 22: This one day when Mark let me ride shotgun with him, with NO SEATBELT.
November 22: Because I was in charge of hugging the pot of stew for dear life. Mark is the master of feeding masses of people. I’ll make conversation.
November 23: Madison moves madly…to nooooooooooova. Hindsight lessons say: It is not so bad.
November 26: Lee Family Thanksgiving 2015. Simple but classy. Go Mama Lee.
November 28: Last-night view from the bed at home-home. The last things.
November 28: Just hangin’ out, really.
November 28: Starter pack of Mama Lee love for little M’s move to the north.
December 5: First weekend as Nova resident. Mark visits; Madison purchases a metro card.
December 11: “I’m one of those Nova people who take pictures of the traffic cause it’s the most astounding part of my day.”
December 13: boba, shilla, all-inclusive mirror pics, new year’s resolutions. “This makes me feel young again, guys.”
December 14: Got reacquainted with this HUH? face over her winter break from Guate. Talking of adventures, teaching, spices in food, and love.
December 14: And always making plans for the next dinner date ❤ te echo de menos.
December 17: Dinners for neighbor friends!! I didn’t food-poisoning her or stressed her out with too many questions. SUCCESS.
December 19: Wedding dates.
December 19: Binky sneaks a peek at the Christmas things. Home weekends are much too short, but also much, very much sweeter for the shortness.
December 22: Yas queeeen, treating me to a walnutty pasta sucecss and that sassy hip flare.
December 25: They’re so proud of me, they framed the thing.
December 25: No photodump post is complete without an ugly-cute picture of the Binks.
December 25: Crisis of the gingerbread people.
December 27: Merry Christmas! May your pipes not leak and cause pools of water in your basements.
December 28: Mama’s dumplings, like the Rockville, MD kind. Maddie and Madison making resolutions anew and saying our goodbyes.
December 31: He visits me in nova now and uses my bathroom to do things like shave his face hairs.
December 31: Bloo Steel, the night when we rode the metro for much too long, even though we weren’t intoxicated or anything. Just absent-minded, silly.
December 31: Partying in DC to say our goodbyes to 2015, reminiscing about three and a half years ago, one summer in Yeosu, Korea.

Whew. Here I come, 2016. I mean, here I am. Take me as I am. Two months late and all.










By the end of my life, I want to have experienced all the layers of love that my circumstances will have offered me.

Mads: All the layers of romantic love, yes, but like, all the layers of all the other kinds, too. Wow. Can you imagine what kind of life you would be able to lead if your goal, each day, was to experience more layers of loves? To give, to receive, to witness, to empower others to do…all kinds of layers, of all kinds of loves! Marriage love and parent love and acceptance love and covering love. And tucking-into-bed love and you-can-shower-first love and let-me-rub-your-tired-feet love and here’s-some-soup! love and dearly-beloved-we-are-here-to-say-our-goodbyes love.

Meesh: Yeah! I mean, the Bible is full of commandments to love one another, honor one another, mhmm!

It is a good thing you are here, Meesh, to tap my path straight and remind me of the purpose of it all. I can wander into lalalayerland far and wide, if left to my own devices. Thanks for remembrin’ us about the Bible. About our God. And of His plans and purposes and layers of love for us. Without that, it’s just indulgent philosophizing.


Even In The Valley

Lord high and holy
Meek and lowly
You have brought me down
To the valley

Where I live in the depths
But see you in the heights
I’m surrounded by mountains of sin

Even in the valley
Shine your light in my darkness
Even in the valley
Shine your light
Even in the valley
Shine your light in my darkness
Even in the valley
Shine your light

Let me learn that the way up
Is the way down
That to bear the cross
Is to wear the crown

That the broken heart
Is the healing heart
That the repenting soul
Is victorious

Even in the valley
Shine your light in my darkness
Even in the valley
Shine your light
Even in the valley
Shine your light in my darkness
Even in the valley
Shine your light

my very own weekend reads: 7 aug 2015

so CFA Institute has this weekly blog update series called “weekend reads” where, every Friday, an author goes through an overview of lots of different relevant topics of the week and lists a load of links — kinda like a link haul. my favorite part of these posts is where the authors really go crazy and have a free-for-all section, where they get away from the daily humdrum of the finance and the numbers and the current events that are so…Monday through Thursday 😉

and this week’s perusal of the “and now for something completely different” section brought me in touch with a lot of different articles to browse on this rainy Friday afternoon. some instructive, some inspiring, some just plain interesting (hehe plain-interesting).

so here’s a little link haul of my own — mostly cause I want to keep them somewhere, documented and remembered, and bookmarking or sharing via little old emails just seemed like too much. and also not enough, at the same time:

but for the moment, happy Friday!

2 cor 12:9

this is sort of exciting, though, because I’ve found that it’s in times of my greatest uncertainty that God works the most powerfully.

but he said to me, “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” therefore, I shall boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest upon me. 2 cor 12:9

pho-reaking exciting, really
pho-reaking exciting, really

notes from hayley

just the sparknotes; the rest, I’ll have to chase down again and again —

  • selfishness might be the new pride
  • out of the mouth the heart speaks
  • and in your moments of secret selfishness, take thoughts captive and…pray
  • decide decide decide; you choose to love and like someone
  • but don’t feel pressured
  • “right now I feel like I’m trying to imagine a 3D world with 2D tools”
  • like 2 trees, growing together with all the little details and big details
  • way more of the good than the difficult
  • ptl for mentorpeepol who allow you glimpses into their crazy 3D worlds
  • chase me down! I’ll do the same for you, but you come find me, just chase me down

overwhelming feelings of: “everything little thing! is gunna be awright!”